Saturday, March 08, 2003
Cathy Buckle's letter from Zimbabwe: Extracts
Dear Family and Friends,
Asia's longest-serving leader said he sees a world in which powerful Western leaders kill innocent people without pity, as they strive to dominate weaker countries, using terrorism as a pretext for their behaviour even though terrorism is largely of the West's own making.
Dr. Mahatir, you have earned massive retaliation. So here is a repeat dose of the poem which appeared when you attempted to denigrate Prime Minister John Howard nearly three years ago:
Two Prime Ministers
By Michael Darby, 17 May 2000
This poem first went to air on the John Kerr program, Radio 2UE, 4BC & 2CC on the morning of Thursday 18 May 2000. It may be reproduced in any form, and slipped under the door of any Malaysian Government building....
Now listen, Doctor Mahatir, you’ve sniped at P.M. John
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Friday, March 07, 2003
MUGABE’S THUGS CRUSH DISSENT
MDC condemns latest wave of arrests and assault of MDC supporters:
“The world should note that it has become a crime to put on MDC regalia in Zimbabwe despite Mugabe’s efforts to make the world believe that Zimbabwe is a democratic state.”
THE MDC DEPLORES in strongest terms the arrest of 26 MDC supporters on their way to a rally in Hatcliffe yesterday, the further arrest of over 70 MDC supporters after a successful rally in Mufakose later in the day and the arrest of over 10 other suspected MDC supporters who were picked from their homes in Mufakose in the early hours of the morning today.
26 MDC activists, among them 3 women, who were travelling on Sunday 2 March to an MDC rally in Hatcliffe constituency in Harare were stopped and forced-marched into State House yard where they were severely assaulted by members of President Mugabe's security. Their crime: putting on MDC regalia while driving past state house. The soldiers used logs, booted feet, the butts of their guns and other instruments during the 4 hour detention at Station House.
The victims were then taken to Harare Central Police Station where they were initially put in the holding cells and accused of addressing a rally at State House. They were released after each being forced to pay an “admission of guilt” fine of Zim$5,000.
Five of the activists who received serious injuries have since been taken to hospital. One of the victims, Henry Chimbiri, can be reached on his mobile number 023 256 650.
The arrests are further evidence that the Mugabe regime does not tolerate political pluralism in the country, and is willing to continually suppress opposing views, contrary to the efforts by the regime to hoodwink the international community into believing that the country is returning to law and order.
The only crime committed by the 26 MDC supporters who were detained and assaulted in State House premises was that they were putting on MDC T-shirts. The world should note that it has become a crime to put on MDC regalia in Zimbabwe despite Mugabe’s efforts to make the world believe that Zimbabwe is a democratic state. It is the right of every Zimbabwean to pass through Borrowdale Road within the stipulated hours, and the MDC supporters traveled within the stipulated time.
The arrests in Mufakose are really unwarranted. This was a rally which had been cleared by the police, who were present when the member of the Central Intelligence Organisation was disarmed by the youth. Why a police officer in civilian attire got to the rally and pretended to be part of the rally in the first place is puzzling. For the police to come back after the rally, round up innocent MDC supporters, detain and assault them is really uncalled for. More disturbing is the fact that police carried door-to-door visits assaulting innocent civilians for a crime that they do not know.
THE ZIMBABWE ELECTION
By Eddie Cross
The question is often asked what happened in the March 2002 election that led to the MDC and the major western powers (the USA, the EU and the Commonwealth) rejecting the result and what has happened since? The MDC case against Mugabe’s victory in March 2002 is overwhelming but in summary the election result was brought into question by the following: -
· The violence used by the State and Zanu PF against the MDC during the campaign.
· The failure by the State controlled media (two television stations, 4 radio stations and 6 newspapers) to give coverage to all points of view in the campaign and the use of the media by Zanu PF in a propaganda campaign against the MDC candidate.
· The inability of the MDC to hold election rallies and to canvas voters because of the controls exercised by the State through the Police.
· The use by Zanu PF of all the machinery of the State in its campaign and the flagrant use of State funds for the same purpose.
· The withdrawal of voting rights for some 600 000 voters of foreign decent in an unlawful exercise mounted and managed by the Registrar Generals office.
· The denial of the right to vote for about 300 000 urban voters who had tried unsuccessfully to vote in their constituencies as there were insufficient voting stations in these areas.
· The denial of access to the voters roll and in particular to a supplementary voters roll containing some 400 000 new voters which has yet to be released in any form, to the MDC for scrutiny.
· Ballot stuffing in many areas of the country with up to 1 million fraudulent votes cast. This claim was subsequently supported by official data from the census of population carried out at the same time (mid 2002) which clearly showed that the voters roll and the numbers of votes cast were substantially above any possible theoretical figures.
· Counting discrepancies at many centers with the Electoral Commission issuing different figures to the Registrar General.
The Registrar Generals office and the so-called “Independent Electoral Commission” were taken over by the Army and the CIO and operated under close political supervision both before and after the election. This supervisory group – including such figures as the Minister of Defense, State Security, Information and Publicity plus Munangagwa, were responsible for a last minute panic during which they ordered massive ballot rigging to ensure that Mugabe was returned. This was so blatant that for the first time, solid evidence has come out as to what they did and how. From what we know now it is clear that these strategies were all used – but to a lessor degree, in the March 2000 referendum and the June 2000 parliamentary elections. What finally exposed the scam was the extent to which they were forced to go to ensure a Mugabe victory. Their problem with any fresh elections is that they could not rig any election today by enough votes to win.
We estimate from our own data, that the March and June 2000 elections were rigged to the extent of about 15 per cent of the poll. The March 2003 election was rigged by at least a third of all votes cast – estimates range from 800 000 to 1.2 million. Too much to be hidden, no matter what they did.
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Thursday, March 06, 2003
CONSERVATIVE PARTIES REJECT GREENS’ POLICY TO LEGALISE DRUGS
New South Wales Liberal Party leader, John Brogden, has issued an unqualified rejection of a proposal by the Greens to legalise drugs such as speed and ecstasy...
John Brogden has ruled out any preferences for the Greens in the 22 March election, and his stance has been strongly supported b y the Prime Minister, who used Question Time on Monday 3 March to attack the Greens.
John Brogden stated: “We cannot allow any suggestion of support for a policy that goes soft on drugs in such a dangerous way. As Liberals we have an obligation to stand up for the values of families and communities in our area and say no to these ‘anything goes’ policies on drugs.”
“No political party or candidate can lend or accept support from any party that promotes such a dangerous policy and still claim to be in touch with our community values.”
“If Bob Carr and Labor are serious about stopping the devastating impact of drugs in our community they will rule out any preference deal with the Greens. By doing deals with the Greens, they are only supporting their dangerous policy on drugs with ‘a wink and a nod’ ”.
“Labor cannot have it both ways, they cannot say they are opposed to the Greens policy but at the same time do deals with the Greens for preferences.”
“We must put the interests of local young people in our community first. It’s a matter of principle, the Liberals will not enter in to a preference deal with Greens and neither must Labor.”
As a footnote, MSN is conducting a poll “Do you think recreational drugs should be decriminalised?” Respondents are heavily voting NO.
Of course Labor will exchange preferences with the Greens. The direction of Labor preferences is of little consequence, since Labor preferences will be counted in no more than a handful of electorates. What does matter is that Labor is prepared to sell out productive industries and undermine property and individual rights in order to buy Green preferences.
PUBLIC ENQUIRY INTO WARRINGAH LOCAL COUNCIL
This enquiry is a waste of public money, because there is nothing of significance to investigate. The Mitchel Report, used as the trigger for this Enquiry, does not even mention corruption. The notorious Lee Rhiannon attacks made in Parliament in April 2002 were so lacking in credibility that they did not even rate a mention in the Mitchell Report. The only justification given for this enquiry is the oft repeated statement that Warringah Council is the State’s most complained about Council.
If that is true, we should not be surprised, because Warringah is the only Council in New South Wales which is the victim of an organised guerrilla campaign run by a group of zealots. Included among the zealots are individuals who unsuccessfully stood for Warringah Council, and are not willing to accept the judgement of the electors.
The zealots base their ideology on the false assumption that anyone who owns assets or who makes profits is automatically guilty of corruption. To the zealots, every development application must be rejected.
The zealots’ weapons include advertising for complainants against the Council, telephoning radio stations, writing letters to the Manly Daily for other people to sign, distributing hostile pamphlets and being interviewed on television.
Persons unknown have distributed anonymous hate sheets containing false and defamatory material.
At least one letter attacking the Council has been written to the Manly Daily by a member of the staff of the Independent Member for Manly, David Barr.
There should be no Enquiry. Conveniently for the Labor Government, the result vindicating the Council will of course not be known until after the NSW State election on Saturday 22nd March.
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Wednesday, March 05, 2003
N.S.W. RAILWAY SHENANIGANS
MORE THAN THREE MONTHS after Carl Scully’s expensive PR launch of the new millennium carriages, CityRail admitted that only a few carriages were in service - but not during peak hour and not as eight-car trains. Despite promises of up to 28 carriages by October, Minister Scully has been forced into an embarrassing admission that CityRail doesn't have any eight-car trains in service and no Millenniums for peak hour commuters.
"Carl Scully spent taxpayers funds on a big PR stunt in June to launch the Millennium but three months later he still can't deliver for peak hour commuters," says Shadow Minister for Transport Peter Debnam.
"Commuters continue to suffer delayed, dirty and overcrowded trains, with some carriages as old as forty years. True to form, Carl Scully puts all his efforts into the PR stunt but not into getting new trains to commuters on schedule.”
“The Carr Government has no shortage of gimmicks but no new trains," Peter Debnam continued. http://cityrail.nsw.gov.au/aboutus/m_train/m_train_vt/index.jsp An expensive CityRail website allows commuters to experience a ˜virtual reality” Millennium carriage but commuters cannot actually travel in real Millenniums because Minister Scully cannot deliver them. It's the fraud of the Millennium as the Transport Minister promises and promises but just doesn't deliver. After eight years of the Carr Government, more than a third of carriages used by CityRail commuters still don't have heating or air-conditioning."
In June, the Minister said, “By the end of July, early August, we expect to have 12 carriages in service. Thereafter there will be approximately four to eight new carriages every month . . . “
“This means that by end of September, commuters should have had 28 new Millennium carriages. But, as usual the Government has failed to deliver”, says Peter Debnam. “At this embarrassing rate, the 81 new carriages won’t be delivered until late next year. Commuters want safe, clean and reliable trains. We haven't got that from the Carr Government. The Minister owes commuters an apology for the delayed carriages and overcrowding. The Millennium carriages, originally planned for 1999, have been delayed time and time again. Even using last year’s schedule, 72 carriages should have been delivered by now.”
The latest on the recent big New South Wales train crash is here
STOPPING COMPUTER VIRUSES
Here are some possible courses of action for the Australian Government:
* A system of rewards for individuals â€“ wherever they may be â€“ who can trace the source of a virus or locate the perpetrator of an act of electronic sabotage.Â
* Application of a small slice of the GST collected from the sale of computer systems to the purpose of combating electronic vandalism.
* Invitation to the Australian States to cooperate in enacting legislation imposing severe penalties for electronic vandalism, and also confirming the common law and statutory rights of individuals who have suffered damage from the tort of electronic sabotage, to recover damages from the perpetrator.
* Invitation to other nations, especially the USA, Britain, Canada and New Zealand, to form an international alliance against electronic vandalism, and to apply worldwide a system of rewards.
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Tuesday, March 04, 2003
LEFTIST PENALIZATION OF SAVERS
IN NEW SOUTH WALES, pensioners receive concessions including discounts on motor vehicle registration, rates, electricity, water and sewerage. The Commonwealth Government has offered to pay to the States sixty percent of the cost of providing certain concessions to self-funded retirees whose income is below a threshold.
The NSW Government has expressly refused to consider participating in this scheme, on the grounds that self-funded retirees are sufficiently well-off. The real reason is Labor's traditional antipathy to individuals who devote part of their lives to building their assets. Labor sees self-funded retirees as pro-capitalist opponents of Labor at the ballot box, who should under no circumstances be rewarded for their opposition to socialism. There is no sane reason why some elderly people should receive a discount on motor vehicle registration while others are excluded.
The Liberal-National Opposition parties have promised to correct this inequitable situation when they come to Government. Here is the outline of the Opposition proposal:
Independent retirees who are Commonwealth Seniors Health Care Card Holders (subject to income test but not subject to asset test) will receive:
* On general rates, discounts of 50% or $250, whichever is the lesser.
Shadow Minister for Local Government, National Party Upper House Member Hon. Duncan Gay MLC, stresses that Local Councils will be fully reimbursed for rate discounts and for water-sewerage discounts where payments for these services are made to Councils.
A ZIMBABWE EXPERIENCE
By Rob H
RETURNING TO SOUTH AFRICA after a holiday in Zimbabwe we reported to the Beit Bridge Border Post. On the Zimbabwe side we were required to pay a R76 fee (or border tax?). It had to be paid in foreign currency (while most government's charge fees duties and taxes in their own currency - in Zimbabwe the government has such little faith in its own currency that it must charge in foreign currencies!).
We tendered a R100 note expecting to receive R24 change. No, the change would be in Zim Dollars (of no use to a person exiting the country!). I insisted on change in Rand on principle. The surly official shook his head.
Fellow travellers in the queue offered to change the R100 into smaller denominations so that we could pay the exact amount. The official refused to return the R100 note and gave us change in Zim Dollars at the official rate of Z$4.5/R1 (it should have been Z$7/R1 or better still the parallel rate of Z$40/1) and pushed Z$110 across the counter (the equivalent of R2.75). Clearly he was conducting his own very profitable business.
In disgust, and since we would have no use for this money in SA, I tore the notes up and threw them away. A silly thing to do, as you will see!
Immediately I was arrested by a CID Constable for destroying the currency and taken to the Police Station to be interviewed by a Detective Inspector. During the course of which an aggressive and belligerent Detective Sergeant entered the office and began haranguing me about destroying his countries currency and insisting that I be jailed for the offence. (this little Hitler was to dog me continuously thereafter). So it was that I was to be fingerprinted, Warned and Cautioned and detained. I asked to see my wife waiting outside and tell her of my fate. While so doing a group of about 10 plain clothes policemen verbally harangued and harassed me. Clearly the detention of a white man was a sport not to be missed. Little Hitler led the verbal assault with vigour.
After I had made a statement I asked to see the Member-in-Charge, a Detective Chief Inspector and urged that since it was a minor crime, that I either be allowed to pay a deposit fine or that my passport and car be held as security while was released to find accommodation in a local hotel to appear before the magistrate the next morning. He was sympathetic, but refused.
Since no food was provided my wife was told to bring food for me at 6 pm. However having done so I was not permitted to eat it. The stoney faced orderly in charge of the cells had it as an essential part of his job description to ensure that his wards were subjected to every possible discomfort and ill consideration.
I was locked up with 12 others in a cell that stank of stale unwashed bodies and urine. Two blankets were provided for the twelve inmates to sleep on. These blankets had obviously not been washed in a long time and were greasy and putrid with the accumulation of human sweat & excreta. My black cellmates lay dovetailed banana like on the blankets. I chose to rather lie on the cement floor. Even the cement stank of the strong ammonia smell of urine.
From 5.30p.m. to nearly 7 am the cell was in absolute blackness, there being no light other than that which entered through the small inspection hatch in the door. With each being immersed in his private hell there was no conversation, the only sound being the racking cough of one or two of the inmates, the odd sound of flatulence and the rasping breathing of one who had a respiratory problem.
In the blackness the squat pan could not be seen and efforts to relieve oneself often went amiss, leaving a growing area of excrement around the pan for the next person who stepped up to the plate. This was then carried on the soles of our bare feet across the cell and onto the blankets. As the toilet was flushed but once in 22 hours, the smell became steadily worse. The stench became so overwhelming that breathing became unbearable. I discovered a weak flow of fresh air under the cell door and lay with my head against it.
No food or water was provided in the 22 hours that I was in the cell (other than that food brought in the morning by my wife which I shared among my cell mates). One cellmate had been there for several days and complained that he was thirsty, but he explained that he had only been given water when he asked the orderly. This had only been a few mouthfuls, accompanied by several blows. He was scared to ask again.
A young Zambian man was distraught. He had been arrested because the Chirundu Border Post stamp in his passport was said to not be correct. He had come through the border at Chirundu and his passport had been stamped by the authorities there. He could not understand why the stamp was alleged to not be correct. He said he had saved long and hard for this trip to South Africa (to seek his fortune). Now his resources were exhausted, his one chance in life had been dashed. He was in a foreign country none of his family would know what had become of him - even if he could get to a phone he did not have the money for the call. I offered to phone his brother in J'burg if I was released in the morning. He asked the guard for a pencil and paper to write down the number for me. His request was refused by 'stone face'.
From time to time through the night we were removed from the cell for a head count which was usually accompanied by verbal abuse and blows (kicks, punches and slaps) being inflicted on several of the inmates.
In the morning we were removed from the cells and paraded before 10 or so CID detectives. Each prisoner had to present himself before this group, announce himself and his crime, following which he was subjected to a stream of verbal abuse; at least half of the prisoners were kicked, slapped or punched (hard). Perhaps because of my white skin I was not assaulted during my stay, however I was always subjected to the greater degree of verbal abuse. Little Hitler as always was the most vocal, he really unsettled me when he threatened that there must have been some political motive to my tearing the bank notes and that other charges were being prepared against me. I realised that if a charge under the Law & Order Maintenance Act or Emergency Powers Act was trumped up I might never see the light of day again. I became seriously worried!
Half an hour later we were again paraded in the exercise yard for a repeat performance, this time by uniformed policemen led by a sergeant in plain clothes. This time the beatings were more violent. A favourite was for one policeman to bend the man over and lift his shirt from his back while another slapped him with all the force he could muster, in the small of his back. Again I was spared these beatings in return for verbal abuse.
All the blows and beatings that I witnessed were completely unprovoked and without purpose or reason, simply a wonton abuse of power and animalistic viciousness.
Eventually my investigating officer released me and with his own money hired a taxi to take us to court (since there was no Police transport available). The prosecutor quickly & inefficiently determined that the maximum penalty provided by law was Z$50 (R1.25 at the parallel rate) and he invited me to pay an admission of guilt fine for this amount, which I readily accepted.
From the CID Chief Inspector down the members of Beit Bridge Police Station, behaviour was unacceptable, unprofessional, arrogant and without compassion. They are a discredit to their force and their country.
While my crime was self evident, the proper treatment should have been to fine me at the time of the incident (in fact a formal warning would have been more appropriate). This was clearly a case of a heavy-handed abuse of power, smacking of racialism. These policemen should hang their heads in shame; they bring no honour to their profession or country.
The star of the show was the Detective Constable who was the "Investigating Officer". He was efficient, courteous, well organised and had a properly balanced approach to his work. He documented the case neatly and correctly. At the same time as doing his job he showed compassion and respect for my rights. This is a fine policeman by any standards, that he achieved and maintained such standards in his present environment is greater credit to him.
As much as I was abused in my treatment (I should never have been detained for this offence), my concern and the reason for this report is the treatment meted out by the ZRP to their black countrymen. The conditions in the Police holding cell are inhumane - even the Smith Government provided clean blankets, food and water to prisoners and the cells were regularly scrubbed with Jeyes fluid. The irrational and random beating of the prisoners is totally unacceptable and deserves stern action by the senior officers. But then of course all this is to be expected the ZRP have long gone beyond acceptable norms of an impartial and professional Police Force.
Prisoners in Police cells have not been convicted of any crime. Their detention is merely to secure their attendance in court (if this is at question). It is not a form of punishment and should not be made such by bullying strong armed thugs who profess to be policemen.
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Monday, March 03, 2003
IS ISLAM, IN FACT, A PEACEFUL RELIGION?
By Phil Sheldon
WHILE PUBLIC RELATIONS CAMPAIGNS promote Islam across America as a peaceful religion, Christians around the world -- especially in countries like Pakistan, Indonesia and Sudan -- continue to suffer under this shroud of misinformation. This is not to say that all Muslims are either radical or promote violence. However, a further understanding of Islamic teachings demonstrates the acceptance and even encouragement of persecution against Christians as well as others who oppose Islamic teaching.
Today, in most Islamic controlled countries, Christians are under some threat and possibly extreme danger for practicing any type of evangelism among their neighbours. Even greater dangers loom for any Muslim who chooses to convert to Christianity. While propaganda sweeps rapidly throughout the United States, Christians must learn the truth. The church must wake up to the call to support those who are persecuted for their belief in Jesus Christ.
Are you concerned about the increasing persecution of Christians? Want to learn first hand of the incredible faith and courage of Christians living in Muslim nations? Then get your FREE subscription to the Voice of the Martyrs monthly newsletter -- a publication that no one should be without. Here's where.
You won't really understand America's war on terrorism until you understand what drives our enemies to attack and persecute our Christian nation.
THE NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT RAILWAY AGAIN
INJURIES TO NSW RAIL STAFF have doubled this year compared to the last published figures, according to leaked government documents. At the current rate, more than 1,400 rail employees will be injured by the end of the year.
In 2000/01 rail staff suffered 701 injuries in the full year, but in just the first ten weeks of this financial year, over 250 staff have already been injured. (and over 500 since early May)
"The rate of injury within State Rail is distressing," says Shadow Minister for Transport Peter Debnam.
"Rail safety and lack of training have been critical issues for years but the Carr Government is still in denial about the dangerous state of rail. Rail safety has to be the number one issue for rail workers and passengers. The injury figures are clear evidence that training and management have failed and they've failed because the Carr Government only pays lip service to rail safety."
"Rail safety, training and management were key issues in the Glenbrook inquiry and we now know the Government failed to implement safety recommendations in full. We need a real commitment to training and safety in the workplace."
Comments? Email Michael Darby
Sunday, March 02, 2003
By John Brogden, New South Wales Liberal Party Leader
FOR US TO LOOK forward in hope, it is essential that we deal first with the present. So today I say clearly and unequivocally that this is the day we draw a line in the sand. We say to extremists throughout the world and those amongst us in Australia: this far and no further.
As Australians we accept and preach tolerance, diversity and, above all, freedom; and today we make it clear that we will not accept intolerance, we will not accept extremism and we will not accept oppression. They have no place in our great nation, in our region or in the world. Freedom, tolerance, diversity and acceptance are at the core of our national character. These are the values that define Australians as individuals and Australia as a nation. These are the qualities that have attracted waves of migrants seeking a better life in a better land. And this is why those of us born here proudly strive to improve our nation and leave it a better place and stronger than we found it.
I say to all extremists, both within and outside our nation, that we will defend our values of freedom and tolerance. To the terrorists who peddle extremism in the form of violence and murder, you failed to intimidate us. To those who hoped that this act of terrorism would force us to respond in an act of revenge, you have failed. We will not fight intolerance with intolerance. We will not fight hate with hate. We will not fight intimidation with intimidation. But we will defend our national character and our freedom with passion and determination.
Our primary function today is to give form and expression to the feelings of our community here in New South Wales. These feelings include overwhelming sadness, soul-felt compassion and an unshakeable determination to assist survivors and the families and friends of those who survived and of those who did not survive.
SOCIALISM AND FAMILIES
How could anybody who loves his country be a socialist? How could anybody who craves intimacy be a socialist? Hw could any woman who yearns for the joy of motherhood be a socialist?
Comments? Email Michael Darby